The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) instituted a policy for all 24 ABMS member boards that limits the period an individual may be eligible for initial board certification to no more than seven years after completion of training. To comply with the new requirements, the ABTS has established the following examination sequence that went into effect on January 1, 2014 for all candidates who have applications for certification approved after this date:
Candidates need to apply for the examination within one year after satisfactory completion of their thoracic surgery residency. The Board considers the one year to include two application cycles. Any candidate applying for the examination more than one year after the satisfactory completion of a residency will be considered individually by the Credentials Committee. To be eligible, any recommended additional training must be completed before an application can be submitted.
After a candidate is declared eligible for the written examination (Part I), he or she must pass the Part I (Written) examination within 3 years from the date on the letter sent by the Board approving his or her application. The candidate who successfully completes Part I of the examination then must pass Part II within the succeeding 3 years from the date he or she passed the Part I (Written) exam. Candidates must certify within a total of seven years from the end of their thoracic surgery residency.
Candidates who fail an examination (Part I or Part II) are eligible to repeat the examination the following year, for a total of 3 years for each exam.
Candidates who fail either Part I or Part II of the examination three times, or do not pass either part of the examination within the allotted time period of three years, will be required to complete additional thoracic surgical educational training, which must be pre-approved by the Board. The required additional training must be completed within the succeeding 2-year period after failing either the written or the oral examination. Candidates who have an approved additional training program on file with the Board office will still be considered Board-Eligible. Candidates who complete the required additional training must have their eligibility for examination reviewed by the Executive Director and/or the Credentials Committee prior to being permitted to retake the examination. Once readmitted, the candidate then has two more opportunities to pass the exam (Part I or Part II) within two years.
Candidates who fail either Part I or Part II a fifth time will be required to complete another approved thoracic surgery residency program before they will be eligible to re-apply for the examination.
Candidates who are certified in thoracic surgery are issued certificates that are valid for 10 years from the date of certification, after which the certificates will no longer be valid. Certificates can be renewed before expiration by fulfilling the requirements of Maintenance of Certification.